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Underwhelmed after trying external antenna with Huawei B535

Darsuke

Casual Member
Which of the signal indicators in the router stats should I be most concerned about?

I stumped up for the Poynting 4G-XPOL-A0001 to improve signal and speed to the Three connection on my B535. Haven't mounted it yet but tried various positions hanging it out of all the windows.

All the signal indicators improve but the speed decreases. It wasn't what I was expecting. The best position is on the opposite side of the house to its current position. It's also the opposite side to where I thought the mast was.

Perhaps testing on a weekend wasn't great but speed returned to normal after putting the router back in the living room with its rabbit ears.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
The wonders of awkward mobile reception again :confused:. Generally the most important one is going to be Reference Signals Received Power (RSRP) and the general rule is that the closer you get to 0dBm, the better, with anything worse than -100dBm usually giving pretty poor speeds (you're most likely to see this indoors). All of these values are measured in the negative.

You also want to be looking at what bands your router vs phone are using, since the modem(s) may automatically flick to one that has a stronger signal but isn't particularly good at data capacity.
 

Darsuke

Casual Member
The wonders of awkward mobile reception again :confused:. Generally the most important one is going to be Reference Signals Received Power (RSRP)
So RSRP averaged - 90 using the rabbit ears. Router most often connects to Band 3 automatically. Occasionally it chooses Band 20 but I've been locking it to B3. There's no CA at these masts.

With the external, RSRP can reduce to the high 70's to low 80's. I saw - 67 at one stage.

Would I expect to see some increase in speed with that improvement of stats usually?
 

Verita

Casual Member
As Mark points out, hunting for 4G signals, trying external antennas etc is often counter-intuitive.

Haven't tried the B535 but with other Huawei 4G routers the internal antennas (without the rabbit ears attached) always gave a better speed-test result than with the rabbit ears.

The auto-antenna setting (on mine) seems to rely on a micro-switch in the antenna socket cover when in 'auto' position. It can be set to external for testing.

To confound matters, the routers don't always lock to the nearest mast, or the one you think you've pointed it - or the antenna - at. The only option is try and figure out which cell_id the router is using and pinpoint that with a cell locator app.

It's a bit like herding cats...

My router stats: currently at 50 Mb/s down with an RSRP of -84 db. The 'signal strength indicator in the Settings is at a full 5 bars.
 

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Mark8253

Regular Member
-80 dBm is a strong signal. What is the quality like? Ideally RSRQ should be above about -9 dB (i.e. -8 or better) and SINR above about 10 dB (SINR generally has positive values, so is easier to interpret). If you have a “noisy” radio environment that might degrade data rates, or else you have a strong connection to a slow and overloaded mast.
 

Darsuke

Casual Member
To confound matters, the routers don't always lock to the nearest mast, or the one you think you've pointed it - or the antenna - at. The only option is try and figure out which cell_id the router is using and pinpoint that with a cell locator app.
This I found difficult to overcome. The cell id from the router can't be found (by me) on any of the web sites I've tried. Even the mobile app differs in it's results depending how zoomed into the map I am. Sometimes towards one mast, zoom in or out, it's another mast in a different direction.
 

Darsuke

Casual Member
-80 dBm is a strong signal. What is the quality like?
RSRQ without antenna flicks around a lot but -7 to -11 seems average. I need to check these stats again when I retry the external antenna. SINR is always positive but usually single figures. It might jump to the mid teens but usually settles on less.

I think I need to try more tests outside of peak times and see what gives. I also can't test it up beyond roof level without getting anyone in. Yesterdays test it seemed to favour just below a bedroom window to receive the best stats. Up to the roof level seemed to degrade the signal. Perhaps chimney level is what I need?
 

kommando828

Pro Member
My best antenna position is just above the guttering, my guess is that I get a reflection from the roof slates and when I push it higher I lose not gain signal as the reflection is lost. Its a weird old game, you can have what should logically work best being beaten by the oddest alternatives so best advice is to try all possible options regardless of if they make technical sense or not, collect data and pick the best stable signal position.
 

Mark8253

Regular Member
Your SINR is not great, which does suggest a lot of competing radio noise. As others have said, empirical trial and error is probably the best approach in those circumstances.
 

Mark8253

Regular Member
Unfortunately I suspect most of it will be outside your control, but keep an eye on it as you experiment with different antenna positions. A weaker but less noisy signal can often give better performance than a strong noisy one.
 
My experience with the Poynting antenna with the B535 has been pretty positive, although for me it was more about forcing my B535 to latch onto a specific Tower by CELL ID (Three also).

My B535 would connect to whichever had the strongest signal, which was more often than not the one with the lower speed (20Mbps), the other was a much faster speed (60Mbps+) but weaker signal.

I used Opensignal on my mobile to pinpoint the exact location of the latter and then positioned the Poynting antenna on the appropriate external wall facing that tower, RSRP is now improved (lowered) and now whenever I need to reboot the Router (for whatever reason) I always connect to the better tower of the two. The B535 will indicate which CELL ID it is connected to via the Advanced > Settings > System > Information sub menu.

Not sure if these steps will help you to determine the location of the better tower and assist with positioning of your Poynting.

Also, as mentioned by Verita above, I have found that the internal antenna generally do better than external 'rabbit ear' antenna in my experience that includes the B535.
 

Darsuke

Casual Member
My B535 would connect to whichever had the strongest signal, which was more often than not the one with the lower speed (20Mbps), the other was a much faster speed (60Mbps+) but weaker signal.
Thanks :)

Was there much difference in your 60Mb speed using the internal rather than the Poynting?

I've seen the router sees two masts (or CELL ID's) assuming they are actually different. It usually will prefer the faster mast automatically though I've discovered how to lock it there now.

Still, I haven't been conclusive in getting any of the apps to determine where these masts are though. I have the CELL ID's but can't locate them with a mapping site. The mobile apps see different results and I can physically see there's no masts where they point to.
 

Buggerlugz

Member
I'd also love to know why the internal antenna is better then having the rabbit ears? After a few weeks I can confirm it sure is. With or without the ears I get 5 bars on the router, but using the internal antenna it always without fail achieves higher download rates.

Internal antenna....

RSRQ-13.0dB
RSRP-95dBm
RSSI-63dBm
SINR18dB

Rabbit Ears...

RSRQ-10.0dB
RSRP-93dBm
RSSI-63dBm
SINR16dB

What I can gather is for :

RSRQ (Receive quality) Lower figure is better
So -10db to -15db is good, below 10 is excellent.
RSRP (Receive Power) Lower figure is better
So 80db or lower is excellent, 80-90db is good and >90db to 100db is fair
SINR (Signal to noise ratio) Higher is better
So +20db is excellent, 13 to 20db is good and <13 is fair

So the only thing I can figure from this is the RSRQ and RSRQ are both a slightly better (lower figure) with the rabbit ears, yet I get slower speeds with them.

So from this I guess having a great RSRQ and a fair RSRP, the problem with low speeds is down to noise. In which case would installing a external wall mounted antenna really make any improvement?
 

Bigyinuk

Casual Member
I've given up trying to be "scientific" with 4G. Using my omni external antenna didn't affect any of the signal indicators but the download speed is double that compared to the internal antennas (Vodafone). With Three using LTE Band 3 I get a weaker signal but a faster connection than Band 20 which is I suppose logical as Band 3 has higher bandwidth (?). The router tries to connect to the stronger signal (band 20) but luckily I can specify which band I want with each sim. The mast location apps/sites are useless around here as the mast are not where they're supposed to be and there are masts I can see that don't show on the databases. Trial and error seems the only way to go.
 

Darsuke

Casual Member
So from this I guess having a great RSRQ and a fair RSRP, the problem with low speeds is down to noise. In which case would installing a external wall mounted antenna really make any improvement?
I still haven't tested more with the external yet as I'm on my tod this week. But the mountain of speed tests I've done now with and without the rabbit ears highlighted the SNIR is a big factor in speed.

Double figures and it improves, single figures and it gets slower.

Now I realise the mast I'm connecting to is very close and has los I want to see how the poynting copes when it's up to roof level.
 

GavinAshford

Casual Member
I've given up trying to be "scientific" with 4G. Using my omni external antenna didn't affect any of the signal indicators but the download speed is double that compared to the internal antennas (Vodafone). With Three using LTE Band 3 I get a weaker signal but a faster connection than Band 20 which is I suppose logical as Band 3 has higher bandwidth (?). The router tries to connect to the stronger signal (band 20) but luckily I can specify which band I want with each sim. The mast location apps/sites are useless around here as the mast are not where they're supposed to be and there are masts I can see that don't show on the databases. Trial and error seems the only way to go.
This is expected, Three has 15MHz of B3 but only 5MHz of B20. The nature of B20 (800MHz) means it travels much further and therefore will give a stronger signal at a distance away from a mast (vs B3/1800MHz) - there will be network configurations/policies in place that determine at what signal level your router is switched from B3 to B20. However, as you're able to select/force the band yourself then you are effectively overriding this automatic selection - in your case, for the better, as you get higher speeds on B3 even though the signal is poorer.
 
Thanks :)

Was there much difference in your 60Mb speed using the internal rather than the Poynting?

I've seen the router sees two masts (or CELL ID's) assuming they are actually different. It usually will prefer the faster mast automatically though I've discovered how to lock it there now.

Still, I haven't been conclusive in getting any of the apps to determine where these masts are though. I have the CELL ID's but can't locate them with a mapping site. The mobile apps see different results and I can physically see there's no masts where they point to.
Apologies for only coming back to you now.

The increase I found was circa 10Mbps using the Poynting over the internals. To be honest my primary goal was to ensure I always connected to the better tower of the two, not sure if that helps?
 

Darsuke

Casual Member
Apologies for only coming back to you now.

The increase I found was circa 10Mbps using the Poynting over the internals. To be honest my primary goal was to ensure I always connected to the better tower of the two, not sure if that helps?
So after waiting an age for a dry day I finally mounted the external. Froze my bits off being out there so long testing the locations.

Above gutter level wasn't improving and the best position seemed underneath a bedroom window. While stats improved, the download increase is so negligible it makes me regret somewhat buying one. Really thought a speed increase was a given.

On the plus side I slipped my EE mobile sim in the router and got 120Mb during peak times.

Guess I'm switching provider at the end of the Three contract 👍
 
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